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Ten-Year Failure: Mattel’s Fisher-Price Slammed Over Baby Deaths

A scathing US Congressional report has torn strips off Mattel-owned Fisher-Price for a recalled baby sleeper that killed more than fifty infants over 10 years.

The Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, which was recalled in 2019, positioned babies to sleep on an incline despite medical evidence holding that they should sleep on their backs on a flat surface. Fisher-Price failed to consult any paediatricians, and only tested the product on 62 babies, before its release.

The report found that Fisher-Price continued to market the product as a “sleeper” instead of a “soother” despite the warnings, as internal market research found that it would sell better if mothers believed infants could be placed in it for overnight sleep. The Mattel subsidiary raked in more than $200 million USD in revenue before the recall.

Carolyn B. Maloney.

Democratic Representative Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, chair of the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform, excoriated Fisher-Price’s “greed” while lambasting the “weak federal oversight” that led to dozens of infant deaths.

“Fisher-Price ignored multiple warnings that the Rock ‘n Play was not safe for infant sleep, including reports of infant injuries and deaths.

“Despite this clear evidence, the company continued to market the Rock ‘n Play for overnight sleep, reaping hundreds of millions in revenue during the ten years the product was on the market. It is shameful that Fisher-Price endangered lives simply to help its bottom line,” she said.

The report follows this week’s recall of another Fisher-Price baby product, the 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Soother, after it was linked to the suffocation deaths of four babies who were placed into it on their backs and later found on their stomachs.

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